Election 2014 by the numbers

By Michael Beckel

A new Center for Public Integrity money-in-politics index highlights key facts about the most expensive midterm in history.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Politics":

"… Cook Political Report, Federal Election Commission, Center for Responsive Politics and Sunlight Foundation. Rachel Baye, Carrie Levine, Dave Levinthal, Reit …"

U.S. Senate races to attract 1 million TV ads

By Michael Beckel and Dave Levinthal

Super PACs, nonprofits help fuel relentlessly negative messaging in U.S. Senate races.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Georgia":

"… deluge of messaging that would flood anticipated Senate runoff contests in Georgia and Louisiana, the million-ad mark will be eclipsed soon. Last week alone, …"

"… s saw about one U.S. Senate-focused ad a minute. And in both Colorado and Georgia, voters were subjected to about two TV ads every three minutes, according …"

Power shifts to outsiders in U.S. Senate fight

By Michael Beckel

Battle for control determined in large part by big-spending super PACs and nonprofits.

Excerpts from this story referencing "director":

"… s here to stay,” says political science professor Erika Franklin Fowler, director of the Wesleyan Media Project, which monitors political advertising. No U …"

"… the incumbent’s record.” But Michael Malbin, co-founder and executive director of the Campaign Finance Institute, a think tank based in Washington, D.C., …"

North Carolina's state of political hate

By Dave Levinthal

North Carolina's U.S. Senate race is the nation's nastiest — and few are particularly friendly affairs.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Massachusetts":

"… ng Republican challenger Scott Brown on his record as a politician in Massachusetts. For the third week in a row, with more than 800 ads, WMUR-TV 9  …"

Secretive groups spend millions to influence state elections

By Reity O'Brien

Nonprofits hit TV airwaves with attacks on state-level candidates, gaining traction since the U.S. Supreme Court 'Citizens United' decision.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Sam Brownback":

"… e gubernatorial race, most have not been paid for by the campaigns of Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, or his Democratic opponent, Paul Davis. Instead, two vague …"

Democrats seize air supremacy in Senate battlegrounds

By Dave Levinthal and Michael Beckel

Liberals aired more TV ads last week than their conservative foils in seven of the nine top Senate battlegrounds races.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Denver":

"… UR easily surpassed runners-up WHO-TV 13 in Des Moines, Iowa; KUSA-TV 9 in Denver; and KTUU-TV 2 in Anchorage, Alaska. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Jeanne Sha …"

Prison bankers cash in on captive customers

By Daniel Wagner

Private company profits by helping prisons squeeze inmates' families for cash.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Washington":

"… using the money for campaign donations. The company also sought to lobby Washington for access to the federal Bureau of Prisons’ 216,000 inmates — what Sh …"

"… State Bank Supervisors, a trade group that represents these regulators in Washington. “State banking regulators are concerned with ensuring that businesses …"

Senate Democrats lead TV ad blitz

By Michael Beckel

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee aired more TV ads in key Senate races last week than any other group.

Excerpts from this story referencing "bank":

"… ndraising hiccups: the NRSC ended August with about $5 million less in the bank than the DSCC, according to the groups’ most recent campaign finance fil …"

Children's rights groups urge Defense program to stop giving school cops military hardware

By Susan Ferriss

Groups trying to curb use of police in school discipline urge federal officials not give military weapons to campus police departments.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Los Angeles":

"… re rubber bullets. …"

"… ram to transfer surplus supplies to civilian law enforcement. In June, the Los Angeles Unified School District also received a MRAP, which was designed to protec …"

"… ps Texas Appleseed of Austin, Texas, and Public Counsel, which is based in Los Angeles. Controversy over so-called militarization of school police comes just as …"

"… p;The department has seven full-time officers and 11 reserve officers. In Los Angeles, Manuel Criollo, an organizer with the Labor-Community Strategy Center, ca …"

Mitch McConnell revs ad machine

By Michael Beckel

Kentucky’s embattled senior senator has aired roughly one campaign ad every five minutes since Labor Day.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Lawrence Lessig":

"… campaign finance reform into the race’s spotlight. But Mayday PAC leader Lawrence Lessig acknowledged afterward, “We lost. Badly.” According to FEC recor …"

Why Republican control of Congress hinges on nine big-money Senate races

By Michael Beckel and Dave Levinthal

Nine big-money Senate races will determine whether Republicans control both chambers of Congress.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Massachusetts":

"… heen will likely face former GOP Sen. Scott Brown, who briefly represented Massachusetts and has now gone north to the Granite State in a bid to reclaim his politi …"

How big telecom smothers city-run broadband

By Allan Holmes

Municipal broadband boosts business, but often stops at city limits thanks to lobbying muscle of telecom giants.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Comcast":

"… ’s three largest telecommunications companies — AT&T, Charter, and Comcast Corp. — tried to convince Republican leaders to relegate the measure to …"

"… spread of municipal broadband networks. For more than a decade, AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable Inc., and CenturyLink Inc. have spent millions of dolla …"

"… m not saying we haven’t,” Stephenson said. “I just don’t know.” Comcast, the second-largest campaign contributor among telecommunications companie …"

Democrats embrace 'McCutcheon' decision

By Michael Beckel and Dave Levinthal

Ahead of high-stakes battle for the Senate, Democrats create massive fundraising group blessed by contentious 'McCutcheon' decision.

Excerpts from this story referencing "George Soros":

"… ll the best as they raise even more money from the likes of Tom Steyer and George Soros*.” Backer added: “There is no fundamental difference between Republic …"

"… etely. Alexander Cohen contributed to this report. * Editor's note: George Soros is chairman of Open Society Foundations, which provides funding …"

Gun rights debate enters a new arena: the campus

By Wade Millward and Carmen Forman

The right to carry a firearm onto college campuses has become another issue in the gun control debate

Excerpts from this story referencing "National Rifle Association":

"… on campus, sometimes with the backing of larger gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association. For Sommer, 23, a computerized machining student who founded Idaho State …"

Evolution of public-carry laws expands gun rights

By Kristen Hwang and Kate Murphy

Public-carry has moved from rare to widespread in the wake of recent shooting incidents

Excerpts from this story referencing "Georgia":

"… ars: 16 In restaurants: 0 Guns are increasingly common in public spaces. Georgia’s Legislature recently passed the Georgia Safe Carry Protection Act, whi …"

"… ngly common in public spaces. Georgia’s Legislature recently passed the Georgia Safe Carry Protection Act, which significantly expanded where gun owners c …"

"… Everywhere Bill.” “I open my front door and walk in public spaces in Georgia,” said Kathryn Grant, co-founder of the Georgia Gun Sense Coalition. “ …"

"… walk in public spaces in Georgia,” said Kathryn Grant, co-founder of the Georgia Gun Sense Coalition. “Most people don’t think about the potential of v …"

Pat Roberts' merry band of boosters

By Dave Levinthal

Outside groups are using the power of positivity to help save career of Kansas' longtime U.S. senator.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Center for Public Integrity":

"… ectively spent $337,000 on ads and other messaging that promote Roberts, a Center for Public Integrity review of federal filings through Monday indicates. Meanwhile, these grou …"

Obamacare-driven competition lowering rates in some states

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: much-maligned Affordable Care Act attracting for-profit insurers, driving prices down in some states.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Health":

"… at least where they think they can make money. Leading the pack is UnitedHealth Group, the country’s biggest Health insurer. The company offered 2014 po …"

"… n only about a dozen states. During a call with investors last week, UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley said the company will compete for 2015 Obamacare busin …"

"… p to choose from. And based on preliminary rate filings, the Ohio co-op, InHealth Mutual, is besting its established competitors by almost 25 percent. Here …"

"… of 5.1 percent while two nonprofit carriers, Colorado Access and Colorado HealthOP, plan to reduce premiums by 22 and 9.63 percent, respectively. Mary …"

Is this super PAC subverting disclosure rules?

By Michael Beckel

Georgia's GOP Senate primary has attracted big money from a super PAC funded by two nonprofit groups tied to an Ohio lobbyist.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Georgia":

"… t's spent more than $2 million on ads boosting businessman David Perdue in Georgia's contentious Republican U.S. Senate primary, has come from two "social we …"

"… isclose their own donors renders federal disclosure laws meaningless." In Georgia, the Citizens for a Working America PAC has touted Perdue as a "conservati …"

Bush bundlers boost pro-Gillespie super PAC

By Michael Beckel

Co-chairman of U.S. Senate candidate's finance committee also helps bankroll supportive super PAC.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mark Warner":

"… hile Virginia is widely viewed as a swing state, incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Warner is currently favored by political observers to win re-election. Through m …"

Outside money pouring into governors races

By Ben Wieder

Dem, GOP associations are spending more than double as much on governors' races in the 2014 cycle than at the same period in 2010.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Michigan":

"… ection still five months away, attack ads have already hit the airwaves in Michigan’s gubernatorial race thanks to two national organizations that are on pa …"

"… ;has been used to flood the airwaves with early ads, including in the Michigan race that pits incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Snyder against presumed Demo …"

"… r his support of the federal stimulus package when he served in Congress. Michigan’s primary is in August. The RGA has also targeted races with ads i …"

"… ne, Pennsylvania and Kansas. So far this cycle, the DGA has put up ads in Michigan and given more than $500,000 to a group active in the open Arkansas gubern …"

Case reopened after Center reveals judge's conflict of interest

By Kytja Weir

Center investigation identifies conflicted judge leading to new hearing for discrimination case.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Judge":

"… of interest by one of its Judges. Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Susan Black vacated the original opinion in the case involving Jacobs Engi …"

"… by a new panel of Judges. Black tossed the decision because 11th Circuit Judge Frank Hull bought up to $15,000 worth of stock in Jacobs several months be …"

"… in which Judges had financial interests in a party with a case they heard. Judges cannot own even a single share of stock in companies that come before the …"

"… pril 28 story showed a lack of accountability in the federal court system. Judges face no formal punishment for breaking these rules. In response to the C …"

Limited liability companies power West Virginia super PAC

By Michael Beckel

Group funded by limited liability companies boosts West Virginia Republican Alex Mooney.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Virginia":

"… bsp;   …"

"… contributed $50,000 to the Freedom Frontier Action Network in April, while Virginia-based HSP Direct LLC gave $25,000, records show. Meanwhile, a third limit …"

"… te — more than $590,000 — in his bid to become the GOP nominee in West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. There, several Republicans are vying to re …"

Toomey discloses trip after inquiry

By Michael Beckel

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey failed to disclose a March trip to an exclusive, 'off-the-record' conference.

Excerpts from this story referencing "John Boehner":

"… politicians such as former presidential nominee Mitt Romney, House Speaker John Boehner, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ranked amo …"

Meet the Banking Caucus, Wall Street's secret weapon in Washington

By Daniel Wagner and Alison Fitzgerald

Industry campaign cash flows to pro-bank activists in Congress, yielding big returns.

Excerpts from this story referencing "PAC":

"… ,000 each from the Consumer Bankers Association, the Capital One Financial PAC, and the National Pawnbrokers Association PAC. Financial interests recentl …"

"… n, the Capital One Financial PAC, and the National Pawnbrokers Association PAC. Financial interests recently hosted Scott at Johnny’s Half Shell&n …"

"… hed herself as a fundraiser, raising more than $100,000 for her leadership PAC in her first year in office. Among the major donors: Goldman Sachs, Oppenh …"

FEC sends senators erroneous warnings

By Dave Levinthal

Politicians received notices they violated election laws due to a communications mix-up.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Mark Warner":

"… failure-to-file letters from the FEC include Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.; Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.; Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.; Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga.; Rep. Phil Gingrey …"

GAO report again finds black lung proposal supported by science

By Chris Hamby

A new government study supports reducing the dust limit workers encounter in mines; the industry is pushing back against stronger rules.

Excerpts from this story referencing "United Mine Workers of America":

"… ’s given us any reason for that,” said Phil Smith, a spokesman for the United Mine Workers of America. At the heart of the rule are provisions cutting in half the amount of du …"

Residents of polluted U.S. communities fear planned cuts in EPA enforcement

By Ronnie Greene and Chris Hamby

The EPA's "Next Generation Compliance" plan would lead to fewer inspections of, and enforcement actions against, polluters.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Environment":

"… g industry, worry over failing health and pollution has intensified as the Environmental Protection Agency intends to significantly curtail the number of inspect …"

"… edent they set for performance of large facilities across the country.” Environmental advocates are not swayed. The planned reduction in federal enforcement c …"

"… perfect storm,” said John Suttles, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, a nonprofit handling Environmental cases in six states. “I …"

"… n before the spill, according to emails obtained by the Southern Environmental Law Center, state regulators consulted Duke Energy before seeking to exc …"

GOP opposition to Obamacare baffles Dr. Sullivan

By Wendell Potter

Commentary: former HHS Secretary Sullivan says Obamacare resembles plan crafted by Republicans.

Excerpts from this story referencing "health insurance":

"… ate. That provision — the requirement that Americans enroll in a private health insurance plan if they are not eligible for a government program like Medicare or Me …"

"… he way it should be, (the law) will result in more people having access to health insurance, and improve the health status of our citizens," Sullivan told the Montgom …"

"… g the charge against Obamacare today — “had the similar concept of the health insurance exchange.” That plan also would have provided subsidies to help low-inco …"

Japan confirms it will return some nuclear explosive materials to U.S.

By Douglas Birch

The amount of plutonium is a small fraction of what the country could soon begin making annually.

Excerpts from this story referencing "Department of Energy":

"… the plutonium-based fuel as it is being created. Kenneth Luongo, a former Department of Energy policy advisor and current president of the Partnership for Global Securit …"

FEC to Claire McCaskill: Show us your money

By Dave Levinthal

Missouri Democrat says missing campaign finance report was lost in the mail

Excerpts from this story referencing "Lisa Murkowski":

"… Mississippi, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, have also signed on. Members of the …"

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